The city crane at Stadhuisbrug (City Hall Bridge) — For centuries, the city crane stood in this location to unload ships that brought goods for the city's many markets. The arch behind the stairs, to the left of the crane, is the entrance to the wed - still in existence - a sloping street built specifically to transport goods to street level.
This is a recognizable cityscape of Utrecht, although all the buildings depicted on it have changed greatly. Jan Hendrik Verheyen was standing near the Stadhuisbrug when he made this drawing, at the end of the Massegast, one of the alleys between Steenweg and Oudegracht. He was looking at the houses across Oudegracht and the city crane on the wharf, at the corner of Oudegracht and Stadhuisbrug. On the right, part of the Keijserrijk house can be seen. It's one of the medieval city castles on Oudegracht, which has been part of the City Hall complex for a long time. [...]
On the left of the drawing is the Ruitenberg house, originally a medieval house that has been changed beyond recognition by later renovations. Today it houses a cinema. In the middle of the drawing you can see the double facade of the former St. Barbara and Laurensgasthuis, then in use as a military hospital. The right of these two houses was the house Kranenburg, owned by the priest Gijsbert Weddeloop who founded the St. Barbaragasthuis here. Later on, this was expanded with the neighboring house Ter Hogerstraten. The double guesthouse was purchased in 1836 with several adjacent plots of land by the Amsterdam shopkeeper A. Sinkel. He had the existing buildings demolished and a large store building built to a design by the Rotterdam architect P. Adam replaced the old buildings. In the neighboring house Ruitenberg, also purchased by Sinkel, he housed the carpet department. The department store opened in 1839. The Winkel van Sinkel, where according to a well-known rhyme "everything was for sale," caused a stir in Utrecht. This was not only because of the completely new design of this department store, but also because of its appearance. The four caryatids - cast iron columns in the shape of a female figure - in front of the entrance were downright spectactular. These had been brought to Utrecht by ship from England and had to be hoisted up by the city crane. One of these statues broke the upper part of the crane, which had been hoisting goods in and out of ships for centuries. The city crane was not rebuilt. A chestnut tree was later planted where it stood, and the outline of the structure is marked in the pavement.
The plot of the Winkel van Sinkel (Oudegracht 156) was purchased in 1898 by the firm of Vlaer and Kol, which had the store building remodeled to be used as a bank building. In 1977 this became a branch of the Amro Bank into which the Bank Vlaer and Kol had merged. In 1995, it came into private hands and was converted into the "Cultural Culinary Department Store," reinstating the name Winkel van Sinkel.